WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Nipro Corporation v. Lakisha Moore

Case No. D2021-4167

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Nipro Corporation, Japan, represented by The GigaLaw Firm, Douglas M. Isenberg, Attorney at Law, LLC, United States of America (“United States”).

The Respondent is Lakisha Moore, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <niproglobal.com> is registered with Alibaba.com Singapore E-Commerce Private Limited (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 10, 2021. On December 13, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 14, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 14, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on December 16, 2021.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 21, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 10, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 11, 2022.

The Center appointed Jane Seager as the sole panelist in this matter on January 20, 2022. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

4. Factual Background

Founded in 1954, the Complainant is a Japanese company engaged in the manufacturing of renal, medical-surgical, and interventional radiology products, specializing in medical, pharmaceutical, and glass products. The Complainant is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Complainant’s products are sold throughout the world through offices located in over 56 countries, with 27 manufacturing plants. The Complainant employs some 29,000 people.

The Complainant is the owner of various trademark registrations for NIPRO, including the following:

- Japanese Trademark Registration No. 1105815, ニプロ (transliterates as “nipro”), registered on February 10, 1975;
- United States Trademark Registration No. 1441070, NIPRO, registered on June 2, 1987;
- United Kingdom Trademark Registration No. UK00001584255, NIPRO, registered on February 16, 1996; and
- European Union Trademark No. 003205838, NIPRO (figurative), registered on August 23, 2004.

The Complainant is also the registrant of the domain name <nipro.co.jp>, which is used in connection with the Complainant’s primary website. The Complainant’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Nipro Medical Corporation, is the registrant of the domain name <nipro.com>.

The disputed domain name was registered on September 17, 2021. The disputed domain name resolves to a website in Chinese (the “Respondent’s website”). The Respondent’s website includes a substantial amount of sponsored advertising links to third-party websites, as well as content of a pornographic nature.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts rights in the NIPRO trademark. The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the NIPRO trademark in which it has rights.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In this regard, the Complainant argues that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to resolve to a website displaying pornographic content does not amount to a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor is the Respondent commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor does the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name amount to legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant further submits that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant refers to its longstanding rights in the NIPRO trademark, and argues that the Respondent could not plausibly have been unaware of the Complainant and its trademark rights when registering the disputed domain name. The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is so obviously connected with the Complainant that the Respondent’s actions suggest opportunistic bad faith. The Complainant submits that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name in connection with a website displaying pornographic content constitutes bad faith use of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant requests transfer of the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

In order to prevail, the Complainant must demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities, that it has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and

(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established rights in the NIPRO trademark for purposes of the first element of the Policy. Registration details for selected NIPRO trademarks owned by the Complainant are provided in the factual background section above.

The disputed domain name comprises the Complainant’s NIPRO trademark as its leading element, followed by the term “global” under the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”. The addition of the term “global” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s NIPRO trademark, which remains clearly recognizable as the leading element of the disputed domain name; see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8.

The gTLD “.com” may be disregarded for purposes of comparison under the first element, as it is viewed as a standard registration requirement; see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the NIPRO trademark in which the Complainant has rights. The Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There appears to be no relationship between the Parties. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to make use of the Complainant’s NIPRO trademark, in a domain name or otherwise.

The Complainant argues that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name, containing the Complainant’s trademark, to resolve to a website displaying pornographic content does not amount to a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent has not come forward with any evidence or assertions that would tend to prove to the contrary. In the circumstances, the Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission and finds that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services within the meaning of paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy.

There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not presented any evidence of having obtained any trademark registrations for “nipro global”, or any variation thereof, as reflected in the disputed domain name. The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name, as described above, does not in itself give rise to any reputation in the disputed domain name so as to confer rights or legitimate interests on the Respondent pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy.

Nor is the Respondent making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy. In light of the substantial amount of advertising on the Respondent’s website, the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name may be characterized as commercial in nature. Moreover, Internet users viewing the disputed domain name are likely to draw a false association between the disputed domain name and the Complainant. The pornographic content accessible at the Respondent’s website is therefore likely to have the effect of tarnishing the Complainant’s trademark.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not come forward with any evidence that would serve to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case. The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The registration of the Complainant’s trademarks substantially predates the registration of the disputed domain name. The Complainant has produced evidence indicating that its NIPRO trademark is internationally known as a result of its longstanding and widespread use in the medical sector. As noted above, there is no relationship between the Parties and the Respondent has not been authorized to make use of the Complainant’s trademark. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the Panel infers that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with knowledge of the Complainant’s rights in the NIPRO trademark, thereby creating a misleading impression of association between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s NIPRO trademark. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.

The disputed domain name resolves to a Chinese-language website displaying a large amount of sponsored advertising, as well as content of a pornographic nature. In light of the composition of the disputed domain name itself, i.e., the Complainant’s NIPRO trademark followed by the term “global”, the Panel considers that the disputed domain name gives the impression of being an official domain name of the Complainant, or of one of the Complainant’s affiliates. Internet users seeking the Complainant may be misdirected to the website at the disputed domain name, which may in turn result in the generation of click-through revenue from sponsored advertising on the Respondent’s website to the commercial gain of the Respondent or another. The Panel finds that by using the disputed domain name in such a manner, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website, and the goods and services advertised therein, in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

The Panel further finds that the use of the disputed domain name, being confusingly similar to the Complainant’s NIPRO trademark, to resolve to a website displaying pornographic content is likely to have the effect of tarnishing the Complainant’s trademark, and amounts to further evidence of the Respondent’s bad faith.

For the above-stated reasons, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <niproglobal.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Jane Seager
Sole Panelist
Date: February 4, 2022